cropped-butterfly-2.pngI’m sorry you found my blog.

HA!  What a funny thing to say on a blog!!  But seriously, if you landed here, you either know me, or know someone that has cancer.  That’s why I’m sorry!

Cancer.

I hate that word.

I remember sitting in the oncologist’s office in my early 20’s listening to the Dr. tell me that while it was not likely I would get Ocular Melanoma like my Mom, 3 out of 4 people would be diagnosed with some sort of cancer in their life.  Since all of my Grandparents and my Mom have died of some type of cancer, I knew my day would come.  I just never thought my diagnosis would be the day after my 41st birthday and as a mother of a 10, 7 and 6 year old.

This blog is my journey as I fight to leave cancer behind and move on in my life.

I should probably back up and introduce myself . . . my name is Jennifer.  I’m a Christ follower, married to an amazing man (who happens to be a chef), have 3 beautiful daughters and I’ve been diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer which has spread to my sternum.

I know it can be confusing when you stumble upon a new blog, so let me help you get started.

  • I have a blog to keep track of my thoughts and to let friends and family know what’s going on.
  • You can get to know our family or read my personal testimony here.
  • As I’ve been going through different procedures, I’ve written down what it was like.  You can find a list of those over in the side bar (or down at the bottom if you are on a mobile device).
  • Click here to receive a daily, weekly or monthly email when I publish new posts.
  • And finally, if you noticed above that I’m married to a chef and think that must be the MOST AMAZING THING EVER, click here and browse through my blog about what it’s really like to be married to a chef.  (I love blogging.  Can you tell?)

Jennifer

Here’s what’s going on with me right now . . .

Post surgery update

12 days post surgery and I’m doing well.  I saw the plastic surgeon yesterday and he said everything was healing nicely.  He took of the steri strips off the incisions and it’s very sensitive now, but no pain, unless I try and reach something high up on a shelf.  I see him again in late January and hope to get the all clear.  (I’m restricted on activites until then – no lifting anything over 10 lbs, no exercise using my upper body or anything that gets my heart rate up, vacuuming only if the vacuum is easy to push…which mine is :-(, etc  LOL,)

A small amount of my skin is peeling from radiation, but that is the only effect I have seen from that so far.

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Recovery and Last Day of Radiation

Today was my 3rd and final day of radiation.  While I feel like I have been receiving great care, the experience is very different than my time at Valley Medical Center.  The commute, the facility, etc….I’m thankful that it’s only 3 days.

Recovery is going slower than I would like, but I’m hanging in there.  The vicodin was making me nauseous, but Tylenol seems to be ok as a pain killer.  Gravity and doing things that require any bending forward are painful, so I’ve been doing a lot of sitting.  It’s hard to look at my floors and not vacuum.  🙁 Tom has been amazing around the house AND working.  And while he’s back at work today, he made sure we had everything we needed for the day before he left.

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Radiation??????

Surgery went well today. The plastic surgeon told Tom he had to do a little bit more clean up than he had originally thought, so I might be a bit more sore.

When I woke up from surgery, I was in quite a bit of pain. They got it under control, but my plan to try to only take Tylenol, is definitely a no-go. Tom is at the pharmacy getting me Vicodin right now.

I have had a few people very concerned that I am having more radiation. The radiation has nothing to do with breast cancer. There’s a lot of research that shows that doing a low dose of radiation on scars, helps them not grow back as large. So Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday, I will have radiation on the scars that were just fixed today during surgery. It’s not a big deal, except I have to drive to Tacoma every day for the next 3 days. LOL.

I’m still pretty groggy from surgery, so I hope all that made sense. Thanks for praying with us today.

Surgery on Monday

Happy Saturday.  We had a lovely, relaxing Thanksgiving.  We have so much to be thankful for!

Friday morning, I took all the girls Black Friday shopping for the first time.  We had so much fun!!  I’m sure that will be a tradition from now on.  We also decorated for Christmas that day, so by the evening, we were exhausted!

Looking forward, I have scar reduction surgery on Monday, scheduled for 11 am at St. Claire’s hospital in Tacoma.  After surgery we will grab something to eat and then I have a 3:45 radiation appointment.

Tuesday morning, I have a post-op appointment in the morning and then will also have radiation that day.  read more…

IV in the Arm

It’s strange being at the infusion center without my port. It’s nice to not have to worry about it being clogged and having to stay longer!

A few weeks ago, I had a tough time having blood drawn for some routine blood tests, so I was not looking forward to that this morning at the infusion center.  The nurse warmed up my arm, used a small needle, and found a good vein right away.  Unfortunatly, the easiest veins to acces are on my left arm, which we are not allowed to use because I had lymph nodes removed.

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Back to Pill #1

It’s been a painful past 10 days.  The intense throbbing throughout my whole body started up again.  I gave it a week and then stopped the pill and contacted the Dr.  We decided to give the first pill (Arimidex) I tried another chance, since the main side effect with that one was depression (and I’m on an anti-depressant).  So starting next week, I’m back to pill #1.

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Portless (Is that a word?)

My port is gone.  The procedure was done in about 20 minutes.  The numbing process wasn’t comfortable, but once that was over, I didn’t feel anything.

It feels very strange to put my hand where the port used to be and have it be flat.  It’s like something is missing.

I asked the surgeon if I could take a picture of it.  I knew you would all want to see it too!  You’re welcome!  🙂 read more…

tom-and-jennifer-ovalMeet Jennifer

Breast Cancer Patient, Chef Wife and Mom

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Resources:

How to help a friend or family member with cancer
Resources for Cancer 'Patients

What to Expect:

Breast Biopsy
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PET Scan
port surgery
Mastectomy
Reconstruction
oophorectomy
Radiation